IRL Squid Games Are Popping Up Around The World, Including Koreatown In L.A.

Ashlyn Davis Ashlyn Davis

IRL Squid Games Are Popping Up Around The World, Including Koreatown In L.A.

Let the games begin!

By now, there is no need to introduce Netlix’s hit K-drama ‘Squid Games’ that is utterly dominating the world right now. Aside from the record-breaking 142 million people that watched it on the streaming platform, it has trickled down into social platforms in the form of memes and has even become the Halloween outfit of choice—including pets.

Now, beyond the interpretations of green tracksuits and dalgona cookies being pawned off on every corner, businesses are riding the pop-culture wave with real-life games. But without the 45.6 billion cash prize on the table, or, the permanent elimination.

France was the first to experience a Netflix-sanction ‘Squid Games’ pop-up which lasted a single weekend.

It involved games from the show like dalgona, which involves carefully trying to remove an embossed shape from a cookie using a pin without cracking it. Another was Ddakji, a game where participants throw blue and red envelopes at the floor in an attempt to flip the tiles of their opponents. There were also plenty of photo ops amongst the indoor space mirroring the aesthetics of the show and actors ready to haul losers away. Overall, it seemed like a sugar-coated taste of the series.

@alexgoyaaHeureusement que c’est fictif pcq je suis pas doué… et vous, vous survivrez ? 😅 ##SquidGame ○△□♬ son original – Alex Goya

Los Angeles has a pop-up of its own in Koreatown on October 23. This time it took place outdoors and had the same games as the one in Paris, but also had a parking lot filled with bunkbeds, actors in green tracksuits and a replica of the giant robot doll. Visitors played ‘mugunghwa ggoti pieotseubnida’ (which is effectively the same as the Red Light, Green Light game played in the U.S.).

TikTokers Irene Wu and Valerie Wango captured some of the action in L.A., with Wango noting that no lethal props were used on the sets. Instead, losers were ushered away by masked actors in red jumpsuits.

@valeriewangothere were no prop 🔫’s on this set 🤭 ##losangeles ##koreatown ##squidgame ##netflix ##popup♬ Squid Game (Drill Remix) – DDark

The song sung by the robot in the game probably haunts you daily, if it’s not ringing in your head it’s probably following you around on TikTok and Instagram. Mugunghwa kkoci pieot seumnida,” translates to “the hibiscus flowers bloomed.” which is the indication to stop moving but the poetic imagery will forever be tainted with violent blood splatterings from fatal gunshots.

The song @irenehwu@Netflix #squidgame pop up in #koreatown #lovehour #lovehourlosangeles #netflix #dalgona #ddakji♬ Squid Game – Deephouse Remix – Bodybag Zippers

Geometric shapes were graffitied on a large wall and even appeared on business cards. So far, prizes have been limited to free merch, but who knows how this phenomenon could grow?

‘Squid Games’ events have already been seen in New York City, Manila, and Seoul. It’s uncertain whether there’ll be any others happening and where they’ll be, but considering the unprecedented demand for all things related to ‘Squid Games,’ we’re likely to see a whole lot more of this.


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